The 4 Best Business Books I've Read this Year

One of my personal goals for 2015 was to read one book a week. In my opinion we all need to be investing more time learning and expanding our expertise and spending a little less time focused on the day to day minutia of our jobs. I talk about this at length in my own book; Stealing the Corner Office. In addition to this personal goal for 2015, I also had a professional goal to evolve from being a good individual contributor and a so-so manager to being a great manager. So far this year I’ve been killing two birds with one stone by reading a crap load of management books. I’ve read 12 thus far.

I’ve listed the books I’ve read in 2015 in order of how much I enjoyed them and how much impact they had on me. For the most part these are all pretty solid books which shouldn’t be too surprising since I selected them from other people’s top 10 lists. I will say however, the top 4 on this list are absolute must reads for business professionals, aspiring managers and entrepreneurs. These are the kind of books that when you finish them you feel simultaneously happy that you’ve read such a great book, remorseful that it took you so long to read them, and sad that the experience of reading them for the first time is over. Truly great books.

Absolute Must Reads:

Solid Business Books:

  • High Output Management
  • Purple Cow
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
  • The Personal MBA
  • Eat That Frog
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

The Hard Thing about Hard Things

This book by Ben Horowitz spoke to me like few business books ever have. Rather than focus on success with the revisionist lens like so many other books of this genre, this one sheds light on the impossible choices and devastating failures we really have to navigate on the path to business greatness. I absolutely loved this book.

American Icon

A really entertaining business book by Bryce Hoffman. This one reads more like an adventure novel than a collection of best practices which makes it captivating and useful. I spent a lot of time reflecting long after I’d put the book down on how I can adopt some of Allan Mulally’s practices in my own career. This book inspired me to want to be a better manager.

The Strategy Mindset

This one from Dr. Chuck Bamford is probably the most succinct playbook I’ve read on building and executing strategy. The book is quite short but in a good way. It cuts through all the crap and myths about business strategy and crystalizes it down some absolute truths. Unlike some strategy books that give you some hints but leave you hanging, this one gives a very precise framework you can easily implement in your own business. If you like reading about business strategy, I’d recommend starting here.

Disciplined Entrepreneurship   

A very practical book for entrepreneurs by Bill Aulet. I especially liked this one because it provided a real framework for approaching the start-up process. A lot of the other books in this category are too fluffy in how they describe entrepreneurship – this one gives you a real process. One way I know it was a good book is that I told myself immediately upon finishing it that I better remember to go through it again if and when I start up my own business.

If you've read any of these books i'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me an email or add a comment below. Also if you've read any other great business books lately let me know so I can add them to my list.